Phil Spector, mixing as we know it…

The mixing techniques that we all know or that we’re still learning about, for the most part Phil Spector was responsible of creating them. Today, many producers are still taking as an example many of Spector’s mixing techniques that were used in “Wall of Sound”, which producers still believe that is one of the best example of what a good mix in recording. Many of the productions that we hear today are using many of this techniques without us noticed it. Phil Spector’s techniques might means more work into a production, but the end results it might be worth.

I didn’t really know that much about Phil Spector until now, and honestly, knowing Phil Spector’s discography and having the chance to listen into some of his work is amazing. While listening to his production I can see why Phil Spector is one of the pioneer of what we know about mixing techniques today.

I had the chance to listening several songs before and after Spector’s incursions into music, and let me tell you, there are some very noticeable differences. Songs like “Folsom Prison Blues” or “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” are great, but when we listen to “Proud Mary” or “Unchained Melody” and compared the mix with these other two songs, we can hear huge differences. Phil Spector not only had the talent, but also had a creativity out of this world when all come down into mixing a track.

In order to be at the level of quality of Spector’s mixing style, there has to be a lot of hard work put into it. Is necessary to sit down and listening our tracks for hours over and over, tweaked, panning it, and if necessary, re-do it all over again from the scratch. Also, I’m pretty sure that Phil Spector had a couple of peers to whom he would present his work to in order to get some feedback where he could work on.

Back in Spector’s days, all of the recordings were done on a 3-track machine, so the mixed were created mono. In other words, Spector’s mixing style was not meant to be in stereo; amazing.  Many producers wanted a presence of each individual instrument, but Spector didn’t wanted to be this way, he wanted every instrument blended together in only one mix.

Spector’s mixing ideas and techniques might not be everybody’s favorite. Honestly, who wants to do a session to record all the instruments in one track and do the same with vocals? Me personally, I might not do it, but Spector’s shows us that it worked.

The contribution made by Phil Spector into the music industry will always prevail. His mixing techniques and styles are probably the foundation of what we know as modern mixing today.

Thanks for reading. 

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